Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Summer of Emotions

Before summer arrived I sat at my computer trying to decide how to organize my daughter's "homework" for her vacation. As an aspiring actress I knew that she would need to devote time to those skills as well. As a nine year old she only understands the emotions associated with Nick Jonas, playing outside and being in trouble. These very simple emotions would not get her far in the cut throat world of entertainment and thus our Summer of Emotions was born.
It was a perfect idea. Not only would it help with acting exercises, but it would benefit her writing and reading assignments as well. First, the two of us researched thirty different types of emotions that she wanted to learn about. Then because they are so multi-layered we decided that each month she would bring a different element to that emotion like body, face, and voice.
The first days of the project would include journaling what each emotion meant to her with an example. The word adore brought her to write the sentence, "I adore Nick Jonas." Then we moved on to the real fun stuff which included mirror work and mimicking other's emotions. Acting practice was no longer her sighing because she had to say her audition pieces again, but was full on fun.
At first I worried about what would happen when she made her trips to visit other family members for the summer, but before I knew it she had gotten them involved as well. There are stories of mimicking her aunt while driving through Kansas City or making her grandma stop a movie so she could talk about how the character felt.
At the end of it all you may ask what the purpose is when my nine year old shouts at an emotion she identifies on TV. The answer would be emotion number eighteen: Fascination. What people do and why they do it now intrigue her. Emotions are everywhere and she is no longer afraid to find the subtext.
As we wind down the summer in the Dean home we find Cloudya sitting at her guitar. She is composing a song about her beloved Nick Jonas. When she performs it for the family it is filled with all of the emotions she feels for him. It makes her previous statement of adoration something much more complex. Truly she has had an emotional journey!

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